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Leigh D4 vs Trend DC400 ?

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PitBull

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Greetings,

I'm leaning towards getting a dovetail jig as I will need to make large batch of drawers in the near future (SWMBOs furniture list !). Also would like to be able to do sliding dovetails if possible as I use this a lot in carcases and have great problems cutting the tail board (especiall long and/or heavy ones) accurately. I'll be using my DW625 router.

The comparative features of the two systems are listed below:

Leigh D4 ££355, lots of expensive optional extras)
- 24" max width boards
- 1.25" max depth through dovetail
- infinitely variable spacing, but not easily/accurately repeatable
- can do sliding dovetails
- large variety of joint possible
- no router support at front (router can tip)
- flip over template for pins and tails
- robust metal spacing fingers
- dust extraction optional extra
- instruction video included
- large number of manufacturers supply cutters

Trend DC400 (aka Akeda) (£290 + £200 for complete accessory kit)
- 16" max width board ?
- .75" max depth through dovetails
- fixed spacing, but easily/accurately repeatable
- sliding dovetails jig optional extra
- limited variety of joints possible
- router supported at front (cannot tip)
- must change fingers for pins and tails
- fragile plastic spacing fingers
- dust extraction included
- instruction video optional extra
- small number of manufacturers supply cutters

Anybody using either of these care to venture an opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the kit ???

Is the WoodRat (I know I'm going to regret asking this) a real viable alternative to the above - and if so, why ?)
 

Alf

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PitBull":1mkqw4xq said:
Is the WoodRat (I know I'm going to regret asking this) a real viable alternative to the above - and if so, why ?)
YES. (Cor, bet you're surprised I said that eh? :lol: )

Woodrat £475, (optional extras genuinely optional)
- 30" max width boards
- 2" max depth through dovetail
- infinitely variable spacing, but repeatable to your hearts content - as long as you can see a pencil line
- can do sliding dovetails, even tapered ones
- large variety of joint possible, and not just dovetails
- router tipping simply not an issue
- not restricted by any sort of template, guide bush or other faffing about
- fingers? Only wimps use fingers...
- customizable dust extraction
- instruction video available, or DVD, or CD-Rom
- use any damn cutter you like

In addition it doesn't take up bench space when you're using it, or need storage space when you're not. And you can mount it as high up the wall as you like to accommodate long boards.

Well I dunno about you, but seeing it like that I can't see where the decision making problem is... I'd buy one myself, if I hadn't already. :wink: Gimme a "W", gimme an "O", gimme another "O" etc

<runs off to take out a long term lease on Gill's bunker> :lol:

Cheers, Alf

P.S. Alternatively a nice dovetail saw, some chisels, coping saw and so forth. You'd be really good at 'em by the time you'd finished. :wink:
 

Aragorn

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Leigh D4 user here, and as a long-term reader of the various threads comparing different dovetail jigs, my vote goes to the Rat as well.

The Leigh may not be worth it for a "batch of drawers". Dovetails is all it can do! If you're doing a batch of drawers once a week: no comparison....

Spend a little extra and get the Rat, that way you can use your router for just about every joint in the book!
 

PitBull

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Alf/Anybody,

Got any links (preferably to online videos) on how to use the 'rat ? as it's a bit of a mystery to me how it's used because I've never really seen it demoed, never looked at it up close, and from a distance it just looks like a router holder on a slippery board with no means of doing any precise work...
 

frank

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did alf say it takes your 625 no probs, is their any ratters that live near you who can give you a demo or a go on it .

ps pitbull i dont think it will do them funny looking dovetails .
 

Alf

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PB,

The best online guide is probably at Woodshop Demos. You can get a video or DVD quite reasonably too. The CD-Rom seems to have vanished, which had some clips from the video. :(

The basic premise is it provides controlled front-to-back (or North/South) and side-to-side (East/West) movement, and the router supplies the up-and-down bit. Side-to-side is done with the sliding carriage underneath, while front-to-back is done sliding the router on the plate over the top. This is either guided at 90 degs to the carriage with the guide rails, or at angles using a centre pivot and "spirals", which are just points to allow the plate to pivot only up to a certain angle. If that makes any sense... :?

Aragorn, see what hanging round here does to you? You've turned into a convert. :shock:

Cheers, Alf
 

Aragorn

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Alf":28uaqwwb said:
Aragorn, see what hanging round here does to you? You've turned into a convert. :shock:
You grind away at us for 6-9 months and look what happens. :roll:
But I only own 3 LNs and have no immediate plans to buy a woodrat. :wink: I just don't have the wall space :cry:
 

PitBull

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Neoly & Alf,

Thanks for the links most interesting.

Now I'm leaning towards the 'rat as it looks far more useful long term and I do have the wall space - but has anybody had problems with bits of it breaking ? I noticed the guy in the woodshopdemos managed to break one of the cams !

Where's the cheapest place to buy it - directly or do they give much of a discount at the tools shows ? (I assume they'll be at the Axminster show).

Remember: Rutlands is not an option.
 

Alf

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PitBull":z9gp6uc5 said:
but has anybody had problems with bits of it breaking ? I noticed the guy in the woodshopdemos managed to break one of the cams !
Nope, never broken a thing.

PitBull":z9gp6uc5 said:
Where's the cheapest place to buy it - directly or do they give much of a discount at the tools shows ? (I assume they'll be at the Axminster show).
I believe the price is the same across the board. Theoretically, if the 10% discount at Tools2004 is in place across the catalogue as in previous years, you should get a discount there. But don't bet on it.

Cheers, Alf
 

PitBull

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Thanks Alf - you could get decent discounts at the old Wembley shows, and the D&M/Kempton shows have some good deals, but I didn't notice much in the way of good discounts last time I went to the Axminster show.

Not sure I can make it over for Tools '04 anyway, so suspect I'll bite the bullet and put the order in anyway.
 

frank

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aragorn can you not take the LN'S out of the show cabinet on the wall and put them into a drawer some place, take the redundant cabinet off the wall and fit a woodrat in its place, go on you know it makes sense :p
 

Adam

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frank":8snevad1 said:
aragorn can you not take the LN'S out of the show cabinet on the wall and put them into a drawer some place, take the redundant cabinet off the wall and fit a woodrat in its place, go on you know it makes sense :p
I'm happy with my woodrat, and nothing has ever broke. (well I broke a HSS bit - and they couldn't send me a free replacement quick enough - which I thought was nice customer service.

I'd seriously recommended you type woodrat into the search facility here - and it'll throw up every argument for and against.

Adam
 

Charley

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I own a Leigh and it's great for quick and easy dovetails but as Aragorn says, that's all it can do.

I'm currently reviewing the WoodRat at the moment. Within the next 4 months there will be how to guides and a review on UKW...
 
A

Anonymous

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Pitbull

I own the leigh and can find no weaknesses or cons with it what-so-ever. If you buy one you will not regret it but won't use it for anything other then dovetails

On here yo uwill fiond lots of argument about which is better.

To sum it up - for dovetails the leigh is best by far. The rat will do dovetaisl but loads more besides.

How about cutting them by hand? It is not too difficult and very rewarding
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Pitbull,

I'm a 'ratter too. I broke a cam a few weeks after getting it, but a quick call to Woodrat and they put a freebie replacement in the post to me.

It's an incredibly versatile machine and for a general hobbyist offers lots of scope for simple mods and home-made jigs to expand its uses beyond it's basic capabilities (all manner of dovetails, sliding dovetails, M&T, finger joints, etc all using whatever bits you've already got).

At the same time, clearly the Leigh & Trend machines have their place too. I just reckon that they're stronger options when you've got dovetails to make all day long.

Cheers,

Lee
 

Taffy Turner

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I had this dilema a while back. In the end I went for the Leigh simply because I fancied those nice wavy Isoloc joints which the Leigh can do.

OK, I admit it perhaps wasn't the most scientific way of chosing, but I am more than happy with the Leigh (and I still haven't yet forked out the wedge for an Isoloc template!!!).
 

SimonA

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Eeekkk!!!...is an understament Alf......I thought I'd missed AG's funeral!! :lol: Its good to see your still alive and kicking!......

SimonA
 
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